Highschool D×D NeW (Season Two) Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Comedy, Demons, Ecchi, Romance, School, Harem

STORY – 7.5/10

Issei Hyoudou, a lively and perverted teenager is living rather as peacefully as he can. He is a devil however, and he’s gotta do what devils do..answer to the requests of the people and get something in return. However, some dark things from the past resurface, as his friend in arms, Yuuto, struggles to keep his emotions in check when he sees an Excalibur in a childhood picture of Issei. What is his connection to that sword, and why is he acting the way he does? At the same time, the Three Great Powers – Devils, Fallen Angels and Angels try to sign a peace treaty..but will that happen without problems? Also, what is Rias’ “sealed” servant? And finally the White One appears before Issei. What intentions might he have, being that he is the one Ddraig warned Issei about last season?

The story of Highschool D×D NeW continues from where Season One left off. Rias moves in with Issei and Asia, and we follow the daily life of Issei Hyoudou, a young devil servant of Rias Gremory. However, what troubles lie in front of our main character this time? With the addition of quite a few of characters in this season, it feels very fresh. The dark plotline seen from the very first episodes follows through, with this season being more “conspiracy” focused. We have some political plotline, some dirt brought up from the past packed with a lot of action. The story appears to be better than first seasons’, beng a little bit more coherent. The anime’s still filled with boobs, panty shots and what not. But, if you’ve already watched season one and like it, I don’t think that’s something that’ll put you off. The boobs are actually used in this show for various things, which is nice to see.

Overall, the story is good. It’s still very damn good for a Harem/Ecchi anime combination, but nothing to fanboy over just yet.

CHARACTERS 8/10

DxD Characters

I am going to focus on the characters that were freshly introduced, I covered previous cast in the review that can be found here! 

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Azazel : A charismatic man, with black and blonde hair. He is rather easy-going, not giving “many fucks” about anything in particular. He is the Governor of the Fallen Angels. He meets Issei when he acts as his new client for the devils’ job. He is very intelligent person, and is obsessed with Sacred Gears.

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Sirzechs Lucifer : While Sirzechs appeared in the previous season, he plays a bigger role in this one. He is the brother of Rias Gremory, as well as being one of the Four Satans, the Lucifer. He is a sis-con, and loves his sister very much. He is also very charismatic and charming. He has long, crimson coloured hair. He treats devils as individuals, and doesn’t care whether or not they are High class or Low class.

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Archangel Michael : Michael is very charming leader of Angels. He has long, blonde hair and green eyes. He is very understanding, forgiving, and doesn’t allow the differences between races interfere with his actions. He treats Devils and Fallen Angels like his equals. Michael is also a very humble, yet generous person.

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Gasper Vladi : A sealed Bishop of Rias Gremory. He is a cross-dressing boy, half-human and half-vampire. He is the possessor of the Sacred Gear called “Forbidden Balor View”, because of which he never leaves the room. He is afraid of his own power. He is very shy, being a hikikomori (shut-in) and struggles when being in places with people. He has short, blonde hair, and is fairly short. Throughout the show, he tries to become “a man” Ise told him he needs to be.

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Irina Shidou : A childhood friend of Issei. She is 17 years old, and has dark-blonde hair with purple eyes. When they were young, Ise mistook her for a boy because she behaved and dressed like one, but grew up to be very beautiful and girly woman. She is one of the exorcists of the Church, and instantly recognizes Issei as a devil. She is very sweet and charming, having a lot of faith in God. She cares a lot about her friends and is very emotional. She is the user of Excalibur Mimic.

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Xenovia : Xenovia at first appears to be rather calm and composed, as well as having vicious tendencies. In the battle, she lets go and becomes a wild beast. She is 17 years old, and has short, blue hair with green dye. She is rather cold when first met, but grows up to become really compassionate. She is the user of Excalibur Destruction, as well as the Holy Sword Durandal, being a natural born Holy Sword wielder.

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Vali Lucifer : Emperor of the White Dragon, the White One Ddraig warns Issei about. He is a battle maniac, always looking for a fight. His Sacred Gear is Divine Dividing, containing the other Heavenly Dragon, Albion inside. He is also the descendant of the first Lucifer, however, being born as a half, he was able to be possessed by Albion. He is said to be the most powerful Emperor of the White Dragon of all times. He has short, gray hair and blue eyes. He is very arrogant and carefree, being very confident in his abilities.

The new cast we’ve got this season is a very nice addition. They all bring something new to the show, refreshing it, as well as adding more seriousness and humour to it. They are well written characters, each having their own motives for acting one way or another, and each of them is dealing with the problems of their own. Their interactions are fun to witness and look at. The variety of characters is this seasons’ one of the biggest assets.

ANIMATION AND ART – 8/10

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Animation was a big step-up this season. The fights look really well, as well as the effects. The art is pretty much the same, although it looks a little bit fresh. The step-up of the animation is very noticeable because this season is pretty much action packed. Although some may say that the fights are pretty stale, they still look way above average, especially above average when you consider the tags of the show. It’s still not the best, but definitely worth looking at, and not a cringe-worthy thing.

SOUNDTRACK – 9/10

Once again, the soundtrack department of this show is shining. As with it’s predecessor, Highschool D×D NeW offers a very good soundtrack, with few tunes coming back from the first season, and other new ones. They are all really good, keeping their symphonic feel to them.

This season has two openings, and both of them are catchy with great visuals coming along. Although in my opinion, I slightly give the edge to the first one..It’s just so good..Endings are very good as always, having a very happy-go-lucky feeling to them.

The show is licensed by Funimation and the dub is available if you so desire. Like I’ve mentioned in previous review, it does change the personalities of the characters a little bit, but it does it’s job and is rather pleasent to listen to.

Final Verdict – 8/10

Highschool D×D NeW is a great sequel to already a very good series. It’s more serious, but doesn’t take away the things that make it the show people fell in love with. It blends together Ecchi and Action aspects relatively well, without any unnecessary accidental trips and shit. It’s not perfect by any means, the story could’ve been much better, the animation could’ve been better as well as the art..but it doesn’t have to. Everything comes together very well, giving us a show that’s definitely worth picking up, especially when you liked the first season.

Hunter x Hunter (2011) Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict
  6. MANGA RANT

TAGS : Shounen, Adventure, Action, Super power

STORY – 9/10

Welcome to the world, where there is a certain organisation whose people can do whatever they want in the world. It’s called Hunter Association, and people involved with it are called Hunters. A young boy named Gon Freecss learns that his father left him so he could explore the world, and that he was a Hunter. Once he was 12 years old, he decides to embark on his own journey to become a Hunter and find his father. However, in order to become one, he has to take the hardest exam in the world. The success rate of passing is very low, and most people either give up or die in the process. The prize is however very worth it. If you succeed, you gain a Hunter’s License. It allows you to gain access to top-secret government information, allows you to kill without consequences, travel everywhere you want, and do whatever you want. You also become filthy rich in the process. Gon has no interest in those things, he wants to learn why his father left him to become a Hunter, and what is so good about it exactly. On his journey he meets Kurapika, a boy who’s driven by the revenge for his murdered clan, Leorio, whose aim is to become a top-class doctor, and Killua, an ex-assassin who wants to sever ties with his past.

The story of Hunter x Hunter is very interesting at a first glance. We’re led to believe that this is going to be a journey, similar to One Piece, where most of the time people have a lot of fun and everything. And at first, that’s exactly what it is. We have this happy-go-lucky setting thrown right in our faces, with characters being rather young, and we see them prevail, or not in some cases, many trials that are ahead of them. However, as we progress further into the story, that feeling goes away. It goes from happy-go-lucky to a very dark show. It doesn’t try to hide the fact that people will die. And more often than not, people will die. It portrays mental breakdowns, struggles for power, as well as various other deep subjects. What we are left with is a story that’s really good and coherent. It mixes various genres really well together, such tackling survival, fighting tournaments, crime thriller, virtual realities, war and politics. (Quick note : Some people thought it did a “Game Arc” better than the whole of SaO that is focused on a “Game Arc” so that’s something worth considering). The show uses the kind of supernatural power called “Nen”. It’s, in my opinion, one of the better designed powers in the anime universe. It’s not overpowered on and in itself, yet the variety of uses it has is overwhelming. It also introduces “Equivalent Exchange” known from Fullmetal Alchemist, but in a different way. You can make a covenant, for example “I want power against X, but if I use it against someone else, I’ll die”. This will grant you immense power against X, however, if you attempt to use it against someone else, you’ll instantly die. I think it’s pretty cool concept that very underused.

There are, however, some things that may lead to you disliking it, so let’s discuss them.

First, the age of the characters. They are relatively young, and sometimes it’s hard to convince yourself to commit to a show that tells a story of pretty young people. It’s not a major thing, but it’s still there, and I know people dropped the show because of it, so I thought it’s worth mentioning. Second thing would be second to last arc. More to the point, how it’s rather narrative driven. It doesn’t beat around the bush. Sometimes episodes seem like you just watch characters take 10 steps while the narrative goes on and on about the thought process. I’d consider this a major thing, and some people felt like this was a bad thing. Some dropped the show, some went through and enjoyed it. If you don’t mind any of the aforementioned problems, you’ll most likely like the story for what it is and enjoy it.

CHARACTERS : 9/10

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The characters of Hunter x Hunter (2011) are all very well written. They have different personalities, often very clear goals from the beginning. There are few underdeveloped characters, but it’s not show’s fault, but source’s. More about that in Manga RANT. What we get with the show is a variety of characters, each serving a different purpose. The main characters personalities change within the show, or rather, their behaviour and manners. They undergo a lot of changes in them in order to achieve their goals. Most of the side characters get their fair share of development, which is something that’s rare for a shounen anime, to give a side characters some screen time. Most of them are really good, memorable, and charismatic. I don’t really know what to say bad about the characters, because anything other besides the age of main characters would be a groundless rant.

Gon

Gon Freecss : A 12 years old boy, with brown eyes and green, spiky hair. He is very determined, strong-willed. Gon is an athletic, rustic, and friendly boy who always looks for an adventure. He isn’t very good at math, however, having his childhood days spent in the forest, he is very good with animals. He is very talented, which leads to both potential allies and enemies alike trusting him and taking his side. Gon also has inhuman senses, his heightened sense of smell is almost like a dog’s , and his vision is very good. He also has a really keen taste. He is also very impulsive, and open-minded, and whenever his talent is being challenged, he feels the need to prove the challenger wrong even if it leads to him suffering.

Killua

Killua Zoldyck : Killua is 12 years old, has spiky silver hair, and very light skin, as well as blue eyes. His eyes change depending on his mood, narrowing and sharpening when he enters assassin mode. He is rather lean at the start of the series, due to constant training and tortures he went through in his childhood. Killua is similar to Gon, but different at the same time. He is confident in his abilities, but doesn’t brag about them. He is easily embarrassed when someone compliments him. He is very cheerful, mischievous and is also one of the quickest-minded characters in the series. However, his background as an assassin really shows when he fights, often portraying that he is ruthless, bloodthirsty and vicious.

Kurapika

Kurapika Kurta : The last survivor of the now-deceased Kurta clan, famous for their Scarlet Eyes. He is 17 years old at the start of the series, with golden-blonde hair and blue eyes (Scarlet when enraged). Kurapika is a level-headed individual, possessing vast knowledge. He isn’t very open to people, and tends to be judgmental. His heart is filled with sadness and hatred, due to being the sole survivor. He seeks revenge, being obsessed about it. He outright states his intentions to become a Blacklist Hunter and his ultimate goal is to kill the band of thieves that massacred his clan. He often drowns in rage whenever the name of that band is brought up, and only his friends are able to slightly soothe the rage, making him able to think rationally.

Leorio

Leorio Paladinight : Leorio is the oldest of the bunch, being 19 at the beginning of the series. He is tall, manly-looking and fairly muscular man with brown eyes, black hair and a spiked crew cut. He is initially introduced as a very selfish narcissist who is only in for the money. However, his goal is to become a doctor in order to help the poor. He believes taht all things in the world can be bought and that him becoming a Hunter will provide him necessary funds for his medical education. Leorio isn’t the one to balk and retreat when against overwhelming odds in a fight. He is a great ally who greatly values the ties of friendship, often acting like the older brother in the group.

ANIMATION AND ART – 10/10

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Hunter x Hunter (2011) was produced by MadHouse. As some of you may know, MadHouse delivers a great quality of content they produce. With that said, Hunter x Hunter isn’t an exception. It had the source material all prepared, there was no need for filler or budget cuts. The quality never dips, it’s stable throughout the show. The fights are very bright, colours are vivid, and the comedic art is also present, showcasing the show’s brighter nature. The art itself is very good, being able to showcase the emotions of characters really well. You will be able to tell if they’re scared, happy or angry. The animation is very good, no skipped frames in the battles, effects have really nice feel to it. Overall, it’s definitely one of the best out there.

SOUNDTRACK – 9/10

The show has an amazing soundtrack, consisting of various tunes. They are all adding to the show, and as a stand-alone are very good to listen. They are kept in two major “genres”, one is happy tunes, and the other being dark tunes. Show uses them both with great success and in perfect situations.

The openings..are pretty much the same throughout the show, with only few lines of lyrics changed and a whole new visuals each time. For some, that’s a bad thing, for some, it’s good thing. If it grows on you, you’re gonna love it, and if not..you’ll skip them pretty much every time. The endings are also really well done, being very climatic.

The show hasn’t been dubbed yet, but Japanese VA have done a really good job, being able to portray the characters emotions really well.

FINAL VERDICT – 9/10

As much as I’d like to give Hunter x Hunter a 10 in this review (which I did on my own list) I can’t, because I know that it’s not perfect. It’s really good, outstanding, extraordinary, but not yet there. It’s definitely the best shounen ANIME out there. The quality never dips, story is coherent, but many things are left unanswered, because the manga is on constant hiatus, hence the name of “Hiatus x Hiatus” around the internet. Ending is satisfying, but you’ll be left wanting for more, and unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.

MANGA RANT

Oh boi, here we are. The show would’ve been a 10/10 if only the author wasn’t lazy. I know the WSJ releases statements every time he comes back for few chapters that he has chronic back problems. Now, I am not saying he doesn’t, he very well may have, however most of his hiatuses are pretty much at the same time new games such as Monster Hunt are released. Also, his art in the scans he was publishing to the WSJ were complete shit. If you don’t believe me, google “Hunter x Hunter manga art comparison” or something like this, and you’ll realize how much MadHouse has done in order to make it a success. I hope he comes back to writing it, but the chances of that happening, and in turn of a second season of anime, are pretty much equal to zero.

Fate/Zero Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Action, Fantasy, Supernatural, Seinen

STORY – 9/10

Set 10 years before the events of Fate/Stay Night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The Holy Grail War is a battle of seven magi and their servants, Heroic Spirits, which they summon to help them win. Rules are simple – last man standing wins the Holy Grail, an all-powerful device capable of granting any wish. In this show for the most part we follow the story of Emiya Kiritsugu, a so-called “Mage Killer, invited by the Einzbern family in order to make them succed in this war. He’s hated because of his methods and reputation as a skilled mercenary and a hitman who employs the state of mind “any means necessary”. He once wished for a world without wars and crime, but has long abandoned his ideal upon realizing that saving one person means letting someone else die. Now, he’s willing to kill 100 if it means saving 1000. Upon his declaration of participation, however, there’s someone out there who has set his sights on him, Kirei Kotomine, who’s set on dealing with him personally because he may have the answers to the emptiness inside of his heart.

The battle between Einzberns, Makiri, Tohsaka families as well as Mage’s Association and others begins!

The story of Fate/Zero is really dark. Even though many of you have probably watched Fate/Stay Night from 2006, please be warned that this is a prequel to that series, making the outcome very obvious for those who’ve seen that. Forgoing that, as I’ve mentioned, the plot is dark and deep. It doesn’t have the feeling of its sequel, where you can just have a chat in the kitchen without worries. This is a battle royale, very brutal at that. The Seven Magi who participate in the war as well as their Heroic Spirits, heroes from past, present and future, summoned into  to the world by the power of the Grail, are really well brought out together, creating something spectacular to witness. Everything comes together perfectly, and since it was written by Gen Urobuchi, you can expect dark and mature atmosphere in this show. The maturity of content here is off the roof. It’s very intriguing, full of plot-twists of any kind. Show doesn’t struggle with pacing, everything seems to progress smoothly, so a chance for you to be bored while watching an episode is rather slim. There is death, there are sad moments. And if you’re looking for something really grim, Fate/Zero is probably one of the best choices you can make. It’s not to say, however, that it is perfect. By any means, it isn’t. It’s really good, outstanding, in a way. It’s very dark and mature, but sometimes it may become too stale in that regard. You may think that there is no actual balance between the happy moments and dark, because this show tries hard to become the latter one, without caring about the former. If that doesn’t bother you, you’re in for a great ride,but if it does, you may find it hard to watch.

CHARACTERS – 10/10

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying the characters themselves are perfect. What I am saying, however, is how they are shown to us. The cast of Fate/Zero is very unique, and it’s their combination in this show that stands out the most. More often that not, you’ll find yourself wondering who do you actually want to win. Interactions between characters as well as dialogue is done so well, that many people quote the lines on various occasions. They are memorable, charismatic, and everyone has a purpose to fulfill, even if it’s a small one. Though you may find some of them underdeveloped in a way, because they don’t get enough screen time. Every character gets their fair share of development, but some just get way more than the others, and it may bother you, because it may turn out that the character you took a liking to doesn’t get enough screen time. Besides that, they’re all well written and their motives are explained clearly so there’s no misunderstanding.

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Emiya Kiritsugu (Heroic Spirit : Saber) : Emiya Kiritsugu, a Magi-Killer, A ruthless assassin skilled in extarminating magicians, Kiritsugu adopts a strategy of exploiting a magus’ weak point using technology. The Einzbern family adopted Kiritsugu as their Master in the Grail War in a desperate attempt to overcome their family’s lack of battle-oriented magic. His Heroic Spirit is Saber. She maintains a high code of honor. Though she and Kiritsugu are Servant and Master seeking the same outcome, their differing ideological perspectives result in a strained and tense relationship, where Kiritsugu never really acknowledges her. He allows her to accompany Irisviel as a decoy to allow him to perform stealth and assassination tactics. As a result of her being with Irisviel all the time, they become friends, while she never really acknowledges her Master either.

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Tohsaka Tokiomi (Heroic Spirit : Archer) : Father of Rin Tohsaka and Sakura Matou. He is also the master of Archer, They’re both very arrogant and manipulative, making it seem like they’d never get along. Tokiomi tries to “sabotage” the war by making Kotomine Kirei his apprentice, so he can succeed in the war. His Heroic Spirit is Archer, strong-willed person, who’s very arrogant and doesn’t believe anyone can stand up to him. He values his pride more than anything else, and won’t allow himself to become someone’s puppet.

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Matou(Makiri) Kariya (Heroic Spirit : Berserker) : Kariya is the uncle of Rin and Sakura. He originally refuses to be taught the magic of Matou family, however, upon hearing that Tokiomi gave away his daughter to Matou Zouken, he becomes enraged, asking Zouken to teach him the magic in order to win, so he can take Sakura away from him. As a result, he will be able to live only untill the end of the Holy Grail War, because he had to be force-taught the magic. His Heroic Spirit is Berserker. Matou Family equipped him with the best servant they could’ve thought of, but that also came with a price. He drains his life force in order to maintain his form, further speeding up the process of Kariya’s inevitable death. Being a Berserker class means that you forget your personality and give up to the rage, allowing you to access unrivaled power.

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Velvet Waver (Heroic Spirit : Rider) : Waver is a Magus from Magus Association. He steals his teacher’s artifact and runs away in order to summon his Servant, Rider. He is very weak-minded all things considered. Rider on the other hand is a strong-willed person. His dream is to conquer the world. After witnessing Saber and Lancer fight, he wishes to defeat both of them in an honorable fight to death. His eccentric and overbearing personality along with his incredible abilities creates difficulties for his Master and their opponents, however he and Weaver form a really beautiful friendship and become “the best buddies”.

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Kotomine Kirei (Heroic Spirit : Assassin) : Kotomine is the son of the current supervisor of the Holy Grail War, as such, he is trained in various magic schools and martial arts. He also acts as an apprentice of Tohsaka Tokiomi, to make him win the war. He’s cold, not very compassionate. He’s dead set on fighting Emiya Kiritsugu, hoping the latter will help him find the answers to the emptiness he possesses in his heart. His Heroic Spirit is Assassin. Assassin is actually composed of different personalities of one Heroic Spirit manifested into different bodies. They act as reconnaissance agents for Tokiomi and Kirei.

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Uryuu Ryuunosuke (Heroic Spirit : Caster) : Ryuunosuke is a murderer. He likes to toy with his prey before dismembering it. He loves to see blood and sliced up bodies of his victims. You could say he’s obsessed with it. His Heroic Spirit is Caster, who possesses the same tendencies. They are both murder maniacs, and their ideologies are rather twisted to say the least. They get along very well, with Caster often expressing his gratitude to the Grail for getting summoned to Ryuunosuke.

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Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald (Heroic Spirit : Lancer) :  A fifth-generation nobleman from the Magus Association. The artifact he wanted to use was stolen by Waver, but nonetheless he uses a second catalyst to summon Lancer. He is a genius in convocation magic, allowing him to alter his contract with Lancer to a point that Lancer can have two active Masters. Kayneth possesses the Command Spells, while his fiancée Sola-Ui is supplies the energy to maintain Lancer in this world. He’s overconfident in his abilities and takes great pride in his heritage. He finds Kiritsugu’s underhanded actions to be very offensive to the Magi as well as very challenging to overcome. He’s the Master of Lancer, a servant possessing two Noble Phantasms. He is very charismatic, and is constantly giving away the magic that seduces woman unconsciously.

ANIMATION AND ART – 10/10

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The animation and art department is this show’s one of the biggest assets. Studio behind Fate/Zero – ufotable – did an astonishing job with it. If you’ve ever watched movies such as Kara no Kyoukai, you know what I mean. The animation is beautiful, it leaves you breathless. People don’t call it god-tier for nothing. The battle scenes are done so wonderfully, characters moves are fluid, there are no skipped frames, effects of spells, sparks, Noble Phantasms, everything just works. If there was something that people can’t hate upon, it’s definitely this show’s animation. However, there is the art. It’s really good all things considered, yet some people may or may not be bugged out by it. At first glance you may not realize it, but later on it just clicks for some people, and they start to dislike it. It’s a personal preference though, I personally haven’t found this an issue, but you may, so just be warned. If you don’t mind spoilers a bit, and want to witness the animation before hand,  here is an example of it from the episode 4. It spoils a little bit of the story, but if you’ve never seen the show, and don’t believe me, watch this video.

SOUNDTRACK : 7/10

Oh boy, here we come. The soundtrack of the show is very good. It really is. However, it doesn’t add to the show. It has some memorable songs, but for the most part it’s just there to fit it, not to stand out. It complements the scenes really well, making them stand out, but on it’s own it’s nothing much besides few tunes here and there. I am no genre specialist here, but it’s definitely one of the darker soundtracks out there, kept in that area, and doing a really good job maintaining it’s position.

The openings are rather good, with nice visuals to come along them. Same with endings. Though, I have to give it to the latter, in my opinion they were just better, but it’s up to you to decide, just know that they are really good, and catchy.

The show is licensed by Aniplex, and the dub is there if you so desire. It’s really good, and does its job well. If you’ve watched any of the previous Fate entries with the dub, you may find yourself listening to yet another Saber’s Voice Actor. However, if you can get past that fact, you will like it. Especially since many of the Grail War entrants come from Europe, the dub for some may seem more logical. Japanese VA isn’t bad either, so it’s up to you whether or not you want to read subtitles or enjoy the dubbing.

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FINAL VERDICT : 9/10

Fate/Zero is, what I call, a show too good to miss. It has a deep, dark and mature story to go along with great animation and soundtrack. Characters are really good, and because of that, it’s a pleasure to watch it. You could argue that the art is a bit “meh-eh” and the soundtrack doesn’t really stand out on it’s own, but it’s the mix of everything that really makes the prequel to Fate/ Stay Night stand out as one of the best anime in the seinen genre. It has great action and the fantasy and supernatural elements add so much, its hard to argue against it. It’s definitely a show you don’t want to miss, and something that you’ll remember for days to come.

Highschool D×D Season One Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Comedy, Demons, Ecchi, Romance, School, Harem

STORY – 7/10

Teenanger named Issei Hyoudou is one hell of a perverted young man. Along with Matsuda and Motohama, they are called The Perverted Trio. All three of them are attending Kuoh Academy, a school which most of the student body consists of girls. Our MC is rather unlucky, being a second year he’s never got a girlfriend, nor had his friends. One day, a girl from a different school appears before him, asking him out. You can imagine the joy Issei had when he happily replied “Yes!”. He plans the first date very carefully, almost to a point where you could call it a perfect date. Right when it’s about to end, the girl, Yuuma, calls out to him to asks him to die. As it turns out, she is a Fallen Angel, and her goal from the very beginning was to kill him! Issei dies on the spot, recalling the one girl from the Kuoh Academy that he admires, a Crimson-Haired Lady. Much to his suprise, she arrives before him, and makes him a Devil. Now, Ise has to live his life serving under the girl he loves. What he doesn’t expect, however, are the troubles ahead of him.

The story of the first season of Highschool D×D isn’t all that complicated, being that this is the entry season. It seems pretty straightforward, and not to deep. It is, however, very interesting all things considered. It is an Ecchi with Demons and Romance, which is pretty common, but it’s done very differently. It toys with the concept of Mythology, showing them in very amusing and peculiar light. The show also uses Chess Pieces in a very interesting way. In order to make someone a Devil, you have to place [Evil Piece] inside of him. Each [Evil Piece] corresponds to a Chess Piece. One [King] can have up to 8 [Pawn] pieces, 2 [Bishop] pieces, 2 [Knight] pieces, 2 [Rook] pieces and 1 [Queen] piece. It adds a lot to the show, differentiating it from many others. The romance of the show isn’t very touched upon, and if there weren’t any follow-up seasons, it’d be pretty lacking, although it had its sweet moments. The part that is most neglected in the first season is harem. We don’t really see girls falling for our main character left and right, which one would consider strange, but like I’ve said, the follow-up seasons are there. Ecchi is the most shown part in this particular season, and in my opinion, there is a little bit too much of it. However, Highschool D×D shines in an ecchi aspect in a way any other show doesn’t. While any other show would have accidental trips and boob grabs, this show has none, and if there are some, the girls do not react the way you’d expect. It drives on its aspects, and not tries to do everything in a very cliché manner. Moving on, the story of the first season doesn’t really have that much to offer. While it is interesting, it’s nothing spectacular and nothing to write home about. It’s good for what it is, and if you like mythology, especially shown from a different side, you’ll most likely like the show a lot.

CHARACTERS – 8/10

Issei Hyoudou : A 17 years old boy of an average height and brown hair with brown eyes. He is a second year in Kuoh Academy. He is very perverted, yet very compassionate and caring about his friends. He becomes a Devil [Pawn] under the service of Rias Gremory, the woman he admires. He is very straightforward with whatever he does, and doesn’t bother thinking about his actions before hand. He is very emotion-driven, meaning that if he gets angry, he won’t be able to stop himself. He dreams of girls’ bosom, but isn’t very knowledgable about how to handle them.

Rias Gremory : A Crimson-Haired lady, appears to be in her late teens. She is a third year in Kuoh Academy. She is very beautiful, and admired by most of the school, Issei included. She is a High Class Devil, containing a [King] piece, and the master of Issei Hyoudou. She is very caring about her servants, never wanting any of them to get hurt. She is the president of the Occult Research Club. She is very proud and powerful. She is rather calm, unless something happens to her servants. She uses The Power of Destruction – a demonic magic with so much power, it leaves no traces of the target when hit.

Akeno Himejima : Black Pony-tailed third year of Kuoh Academy. She is the [Queen] of Rias Gremory. She, along with Rias, is also admired by most of the student body. She is very seductive, and possesses a sadistic side, which she usually shows in the battle. She is like a sister to Rias, being with her all the time. Akeno likes to tease Issei, being that she is his senior. She is also very caring about her friends, while not being very forgiving to the enemies. She uses Thunder as her primary source of attacks.

Yuuto Kiba : A very handsome man, the [Knight] of Rias Gremory. He, as well as his comrades, is very compassionate about his friends. He is very polite individual when it comes to his manners and personality. At first, he was disliked by Issei because of the fact that girls are falling in love with him all the time. He has a short blonde hair and gray eyes. He fancies swords and speed traits, forgoing any kind of defences.

Koneko Toujou : She appears to be 15 years old. She is very small, you could say she is a loli. She has white, short hair. She is the [Rook] of Rias Gremory, and primarily uses her fists and legs as her damage source. She dislikes Issei’s perverted tendencies, always pointing them out and putting them to a halt. She cares deeply for her comrades and always strives to do better than a minute ago. She is rather cold and quiet.

Asia ArgentoA 16 years old nun. She meets Issei by an accident, and considers him her love because he helped her much more than anyone else. She is very innocent and shy girl, having troubles with social skills. She has a long blonde hair and green eyes. She doesn’t know much about Japan in general, and relies on the rest of the group. She is also someone Issei sees as a person to protect, which deepends her love for him.

Overall, I think the characters in Highschool D×D are very well written. They don’t fall into your stereotypical archetypes.You definitely will not be seeing a Tsundere character in this season of the show. They are all very fun to watch, their interactions differ depending on who they are talking to, and they are able to create fun comedic gags when it matters. The downside of them, however, is they do not get much development in the first season. If there was no follow-up seasons, I wouldn’t give an 8 for characters, simply because they are not developed enough. Unless you like characters that you know nothing about, you won’t be able to appreciate Koneko or Yuuto, simply because they don’t have enough screen time. That aside, they are all pretty good and there is no “fifth wheel” character.

ANIMATION AND ART – 7/10

The art of the show is rather pleasant to look at. It’s rather typical, with girls’ breasts being larger than the law allows you to have, and big eyes. With that said however, it’s not bad. I liked it for what it is, because it fits the show really well. The animation is really good when it matters, but only good most of the time. It’s not outstanding, but it’s not bad either. It’s decent enough, and it won’t make you turn the show off because of how fights look like still images. The spell particles are done relatively well. This show uses Magic Circles, so if you don’t like them in a show about magic, you’re gonna have a bad time. Overall, it’s not bad, it’s above average and I think that’s what you’d expect, given that show is focused on the ecchi aspects a bit more than it probably should.

SOUNDTRACK – 9/10

This is the part I really love about this show. The music it has is absolutely stunning. From the opening that is so catchy and awesome, to endings that are fun to listen to. Both of which are complemented really well with great visuals. The OST put in the show is also worth noting, as it does not only complement the show, it adds a lot to it. Many songs you’ll find yourself listen to on their own, because they stuck in your head. I’d definitely say the soundtrack department is one of the show’s biggest assets.

The show is also dubbed by Funimation. While I prefer subbed version of the show, the dub definitely has it’s own merits. It portrays characters in a little bit of a different light, but if you don’t like to read subtitles all the time, you’re free to watch the dub. It’s not bad and does it’s job relatively well.

FINAL VERDICT – 8/10

With all that in mind, I’d rate this show 8/10. Yes, the story isn’t extraordinary, and yes, the animation isn’t always the best, but the characters and soundtrack really make up for it. It suffers from the ecchi syndrome, which consists of too many of it, but if you’re going to cry about perverted stuff in this show then you’ve obviously arrived at a wrong place. If you’re not a fan of perverted shows with big boobs and panty shots, then you may want to skip it. If you, however, don’t mind all that, and come here for some interesting plot, you may find something to your liking.

Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood Review

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Table of Contents :

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Manga
  6. Final Verdict

STORY

Set in alternative universe, in a world where a certain type of magic exists. That magic is called Alchemy –  the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing matter. However, it is not an all-powerful art; it is impossible to create something out of nothing. If one wishes to obtain something, something of equal value must be given. This is the Law of Equivalent Exchange, the basis of all alchemy. In accordance with this law, there is a taboo among alchemists: human transmutation is strictly forbidden – for what could equal the value of a human soul…? In said world, we follow the story of Edward and Alphonse Elric, two very skilled alchemists who performed aforementioned taboo and tried to resurect their deceased mother, losing their bodies in return. They go on a quest to get back what they’ve lost. On a journey, they meet various people, the enemy called Homunculi, and friends that help them achieve their goal.

The story of Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood at first glance seems pretty interesting. Alchemy as a type of supernatural power isn’t all that common, and the way it works in the show and how it is explained leaves no plot-holes of any kind. Overall plotline of the show is pretty dark all things considered. There is comedy, but there are also times when story gets really dark, and the balance between them is very good. Every character that appears in the show is used for one thing or another. The ending of the show is very satisfying, isn’t a so-called bullshit and there are no ass-pulls which many consider “Deus Ex Machina”. Everything is laid out in front of our eyes, and connects perfectly. There is also a romantic plotline in the show, however it’s really well done, and doesn’t bring the show down at all. It’s subtle, yet noticeable. That is not to say, however, that the story is perfect. There are times when you feel “how come those kids are so knowledgable” and stuff, but it’s a given. It’s a shounen, and that’s to be expected. If you can ignore missing realism in form of them being kids while not acting as ones all the time, you’re gonna enjoy it.

CHARACTERS

For the sake of it not being a really long thing, I’ll focus on the main characters.

Edward Elric : Fifteen years old boy. He is very small, at the start of the show he’s only 149cm (4’11”) which is something that many people notice at first. It’s also a running gag in the show, where people point out his height. He became a State Alchemist at the age of 12, becoming the youngest State Alchemist in history. He travels for the most part with his brother, Alphonse Elric. He lost his left leg trying to ressurect his mother, and right after that lost his right arm to bring his brother’s soul back to the living world. In place of lost limbs, he uses Automail Prosthetics created for him specifically by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell, because of which he gets nicknamed Fullmetal Alchemist. He is very afraid of his teacher. He is very impulsive, and at first appears to be rather immature. He goes along with the flow and emotions, and also is very strong-willed. He has golden-blond hair, which is rather long – usually tied in a braid that hangs down to his shoulders, but sometimes forgoing the braid for a simpler ponytail. He also leaves a single strand of hair sticking up like an antenna. Ed sleeps a lot, and in very unusual places. He also likes to eat, and gets really mad when people point out his height, or mistake his brother for being the State Alchemist. Ed can perform the alchemy without any circles or gestures.

Alphonse Elric: Fourteen years old boy. He lost his whole body while trying to ressurect his deceased mother. Ed brought his soul back to the living world, and sealed it within one of the armors laying around in the basement. Al never sleeps, because his body doesn’t allow for that. He is more rational of the two brothers, however he is also younger, and respects his older brother a lot. He loves cute things, and is genuinely afraid of his teacher. Al cannot use alchemy without transmutation circles. His calm and passive disposition exists as a foil to his older brother’s more abrasive personality. Al is kindhearted, notably compassionate and patient almost to a fault, acting often out of protective selflessness for his loved ones, new friends and sometimes toward even his enemies, as such, he is sometimes seen as an airhead. Because of his new body – a steel armour – he is usually mistaken for being the Fullmetal Alchemist, much to dismay of his brother.

Winry Rockbell: Childhood friend of Al and Ed. Winry is an attractive young woman with long, light blonde hair and blue eyes. She has a petite, girlish figure and is slightly taller than Edward for most of the story. She has her hair either braid in a ponytail or let loose. She is very emotional, strong-willed and very empathic. She made the automail prosthetics for Ed and she is his mechanic. She cares about both of the brothers, and tries to help them any way she is able to. She hopes they’ll get their bodies back. Winry more often than not is the voice of reason if the brothers decide to consult her.

Roy MustangA very attractive, sophisticated man. He was the one who got Edward into being a State Alchemist, witnessing what he’s done. He is a colonel when the show starts. Being very ambitious, he tries to become the General Brigadier of the Amestris Army. He is the Flame State Alchemist. He has black hair, and has a great deal of admirers. He is usually cold, and cares deeply for his subordinates. He also helps Ed and Al get their bodies back. He isn’t very liked in the army, because of his narcissistic nature and selfishness, which he maintaines in order to achieve his goal. He also has a reputation of being a womanizer. Mustang is also considered one of the Heroes of Ishvalan Civil War.

Scar: An Ishvalan dead-set on taking revenge on every State Alchemist he can find. He appears to be very vicious, and has no empathy, killing indiscriminately even if you didn’t take a part in the Civil War which killed most of his family, friends, people. However, even though I said he doesn’t have any empathy, he honors the last wishes of the people he kills. He has a big X-shaped scar running across his face from forehead, through eyes and to cheekbones. He has dark skin tone, and is very muscular. Although he hates States Alchemists with passion and is mainly driven by hatred, he holds no grudge against those who are not involved in his quest towards the retribution.

Villains: The villains are well written. Saying who they are would be a major spoiler, but one thing can be said about them : They are exactly what their names suggest. The Homunculi have different personalities, and while overall have the same goal, they approach it differently. Some of them made it to my list of top villains, because of how well they are shown. They act according to the orders they receive, while not being just a puppets or dolls. They each hate and love different things and different people. Their interactions are also very fun to watch, because even though they are on the same side, it doesn’t mean that they all have to get along with each other. They can’t be put into “stereotypical villain archetypes 101” at all, and that’s a good thing. The villains are one of the best things this show could ever have.

There is a lot more characters, but those are the ones you’ll be seeing the most. They are very different, and like I’ve said before, there is no useless character. Every has a purpose. Characters are vivid, and their interactions are more often than not very fun to witness. There are characters that you’ll love, and there are some that you’ll just hate with passion, and that’s good. They are really well written, and there is no one that acts “out of character” in a way. They are very coherent.

ANIMATION AND ART

The animation of the Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood is one of the best, even considering today’s standards. The art isn’t shaky, it’s nice to look at, but some characters have square-ish faces, which may lead to some people disliking it. I for one really liked it. Battle scenes are very well animated, there are no skipped frames, and they look fluid. Transmutation effect are also well made, with the lightning sparkling left and right. It’s really colorfull, while also maintaing the dark tone of the show. Colours are vivid. There is also what I call a comedic art, which is when characters turn into a blobs purely for the comedic relief. It’s done from time to time, and makes me laugh up untill this day.

All in all, animation and art are very good, one of the best even considering the time the show was airing. It holds up well with his younger adversaries.

SOUNDTRACK

Soundtrack of he show is memorable. There is a lot of songs that you’ll want to listen to on their own. They add to the show a lot, instead of just complementing it. Soundtrack is rather well composed, having some happy songs, while at the same time having really dark, gloomy tunes, and the show uses both with great results. While I say that, at first it seems to be overusing the same songs, but the problem becomes nonexistant later on, when more and more soundtracks are introduced.

Openings and Endings are one of the best that I’ve heard in my entire life. Especially the openings. Songs are catchy, with great visuals complementing them.

MANGA

The show is based on a manga. With that said, the art shown is the show is the same one that’s in the manga. Studio did a really good job adapting it. If you decide to watch the animated version, you will not miss anything. With that being said, I recommend to read the manga as well, because it’s really good on it’s own. Art is very good, there are no panels where you are left wondering what’s happening. As a comic, it’s missing the VA , OST and Animation, but nonetheless it’s a great read, ending at 27 volumes.

FINAL VERDICT 

Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood is a very good show, which I’d recommend to anyone who wants to enter the shounen-type anime. It’s also a good introduction to the anime in general, being rather easy to understand and not requiring the knowledge of japanese culture. It’s not without it’s flaws, like the Ed and Al not acting like kids while being teens and stuff, but it’s not meant to be the most realistic thing ever. It’s really well written show, without any plot-holes, amazing villains, very satisfying ending and the journey from start to end is sure to keep you entertained, as well as amused with the amazing soundtrack and animation.

Memorable Quote :

Edward: Water: 35 Liters, carbon: 20 kilograms, ammonia: 4 Liters, lime: 1.5 kilograms, phosphorus: 800 grams, salt: 250 grams, saltpeter: 100 grams, and various other trace elements…

Rose: Huh?!

Edward: That list represents the complete chemical makeup of a human body for the average adult. It’s been calculated to the last microgram, but still there has never been one reported case of successfully creating a human life. And you’re telling me something modern science can’t do, you can do with prayer?

Rose: Lift thy voice to God! And the prayers of the faithful shall be answered!

Edward: Did I mention all those ingredients I read off? Down at the market, a kid could buy every one of them for the spare change in his pocket. As it turns out, humans are pretty cheap.

Rose: No, that’s blasphemy…! People are- We’re all children of God… created in his image!

Edward: Heh. You have to understand, alchemists are scientists… We don’t believe in unprovable concepts like creators or gods… We observe the physical laws that govern this world to try to learn the truth. It’s ironic, really. That through the application of science, we have in many ways been given the power to play gods ourselves…

Rose: So you’re putting yourself on the same level as God? That’s just… sheer arrogance!

Edward: You know, there’s an old myth– about a hero who flew on wings made of wax… He thought he could touch the sun, but when he got too close, his wings melted, and he came crashing back down to earth… Right Al?

Alphonse: Brother…